You’ve heard the ads, you’ve probably marked your calendar, gone to school orientations, bought clothes, supplies, and all the other crap associated with back to school for you or your kid. But do you have a soundtrack to go with it? You know, something to remind you of a time when summer comes to a close, and you’re getting ready for the inevitable alarm clock that rather coldly slaps you out of your summer slumber and gets you on a set schedule when classes, books, quizzes and tests punctuate the drama of school. Well, you’re not going to find it here! Most of these songs are more fantasy than reality, but they do touch on an experience that most (if not all who are reading this) have gone through: school.
“Hot for Teacher,” Van Halen (Download)
Eddie Van Halen once described the standard narrative for a Van Halen song as: “Boy meets girl, boy inserts penis” — much to the shock of this then wife Valerie Bertinelli. On “Hot For Teacher” the narrative gets tweaked to a kind of lustful stare. However, one thing that I think I most love about this song is Alex Van Halen’s intro –which channels Billy Cobham’s work on “Quadrant 4” recorded in 1973.
“Mr. Watson,” Ke$sha (Download)
This is kind of the female version of “Hot For Teacher” with Ke$sha acting out her fantasy in a much more explicit manner. Poor Mr. Watson, if he only knew that Ke$sha’s high school fantasy involved getting into his khakis, he would put in for an inter-district transfer faster than you can say statutory rape.
“Don’t Stand So Close To Me,” The Police (Download)
Now, if we were to take Sting’s “young teacher” as Mr. Watson, I think we finally see the outcome of his relationship with a Lolita nymph — that is, if he took the bait. However, Sting’s cautionary tale has the chorus that injects a moral barrier between the two would be lovers. If he didn’t, I’m not sure “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” would get much airplay.
“Campus,” Vampire Weekend (Download)
One of the worst things is a break up in the cloistered world of a school campus. What can you do? Well, there are those who confront the 500 pound elephant in the room head on, and then there are others who live by that noble ethic called avoidance.
“Grade 9,” Barenaked Ladies (Download)
In 1993, Barenaked Ladies’ “Grade 9” evoked memories of junior high when some of the kids were clearly flailing about in the school halls (not literally, mind you), and trying very hard to fit in in an environment that had varying degrees of torture and pure fun. Just for the record, no one ever called me Eddie in the 9th grade. They did, however, call me Nugent – as in Ted Nugent. Whatever.
“Teacher Teacher,” Rockpile (Download)
And then there’s the PG-13 version of “Hot For Teacher” and “Mr. Watson.” Rockpile (Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe) trotted out this tune written by Kenny Pickett and Eddie Phillips that became a kind of bottom feeder hit in the early ‘80s. The song is more about pleading with a (supposedly) hot teacher to teach the young and inexperienced student the ways of love — and he doesn’t mean teaching out of a book.